Caution: The first paragraph may disgust some readers. Reader discretion advised.
The horror of horrors, three hours into the ride, once the rickety bus started snaking through the high mountain curves, the scenery dimmed in my eyes. Suddenly, I couldn't wait for the journey to end.
Nausea took over and I placed myself strategically by the window for the rest of the bus ride. My lively co-passengers slowly melted away from my notice. It was a kind of a temporary self-quarantine. By the time we reached Dhaula by around 5 pm, I had mastered the art of setting myself up by a bus window for a good vomit trajectory, polished my skill of doing so without causing any widespread disgust. Uh, ah, ow.
We alighted at Dhaula and waited for the organizers to arrange for the jeeps to take us to the base camp. A few members petted and pampered the local dogs. The dogs were all flowing hair, bushy-tailed, fearless and robust. The mountain air perked me up, by the time we boarded different jeeps, the towering oaks, pines, a river flowing to the left and a steady drizzle brought me home to the trip again.
Something out of the ordinary occurred on the ride to our first camp. One of the local dogs began chasing our vehicles in one steady, strong run. This was no casual chase. The dog kept up with the vehicle's speed and moved to a sprint, tirelessly. After almost five kilometers did the dog cease at a settlement, more out of instinct and curiosity it seemed, or perhaps in catching a delicious aroma. It was one extraordinary run, a touch of the predatory in it, riveting to the eye.
It was still raining when we reached our first camp, post a 30-minute ride. Rain, not a good sign for the trip, if not ominous. Tea was served from a smoky kettle, hot fried snacks served as we watched the drops mingle with the wild green below.
A cell phone grab of the dog run